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St Patrick’s Day

This St Patrick’s Day, we call upon Barney O’Kane – Senior Bartender at the world-famous Little Red Door cocktail bar – to share with us some of his personal insights into the annual celebration as well as his very own St Patrick’s Day cocktail recipe.

Historically, St Patrick’s Day was an ecclesiastic holiday, where families would attend church in the morning followed by a dinner celebration in the afternoon that provided a momentary reprieve from the stringent rules of Lent. The annual event was transported to America by Irish immigrants, soldiers and clergy, resulting in the first parades in New York City. Nowadays, this has morphed into a global, emerald-splashed party synonymous with dancing, parades, leprechaun costumes, and some serious drinking.

Whilst the gargantuan parades and snowballing of such festivities is neither here nor there to most Irish nationals, the day itself is used as an excuse to meet up with friends for a few drinks. 

Beer and dyed green drinks may be the tipple of choice for the parading masses, but this year we decided to ask Little Red Door’s own Barney O’Kane what cocktail he would make to epitomise and celebrate the holiday, as well as quizzing him on Irish hospitality and what the day usually holds for him.

FIRST THING’S FIRST, HOW DID YOU GET INTO BARTENDING?

I think I fell in love with the job working in my local pub, then I simply got hooked, nothing exciting, just the most Irish way imaginable I guess.

HOW WOULD YOU COLLEAGUES DESCRIBE YOU?

If you asked the team at Little Red Door they would probably say, “Pain in the ass”, which I think is fair.

HOW (IF AT ALL) WOULD YOU USUALLY CELEBRATE ST PATRICK’S DAY?

Normally for St Patrick’s Day, I would sit in the smallest pub I could find to listen to some traditional Irish music. Usually in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s isn’t as wild as one might think; it’s just a very convenient way to see all your friends together at once.

WHAT WILL YOU DO THIS YEAR WITH BARS BEING CLOSED?

I would love to sit somewhere and drink some nice whiskey, but this year I will be somewhere in the south-west of France sampling different citrus fruits – not very Irish but I can’t complain.

WHAT DOES “IRISH HOSPITALITY” MEAN TO YOU?

Irish Hospitality is a strange one. I think the best current example you can find is at Homeboy bar in London, where their entire ethos is about bringing Irish hospitality into the modern cocktail world. If I had to summarise [Irish hospitality] in three words: welcoming, cheeky, and (most importantly) CRAIC!

WHAT’S YOUR ST PATRICK’S DAY COCKTAIL?

The drink is called Úllord – the Irish name for “apple orchard”. It is a sort of Irish Manhattan riff, that to me, is my idea of my part of Ireland [Belfast].

RECIPE: ÚLLORD Cocktail by Barney O’Kane

Difficulty: **

Strength: Sipper

Complex, Dry, Fruity

INGREDIENTS (Serves 1)

40 ml Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey

15 ml Christian Drouin Calvados

15 ml Baldoria Rosso

15 ml Tempus Fugit Liqueur Rabarbaro

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a shaker or glass filled with ice
  2. Stir to combine and chill
  3. Strain into a coupe/ Nick and Nora glass